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by Cathy Vandewater | November 09, 2012


Hoping to inspire confidence at your next interview? Look no further than the election results. If two presidential candidates could convince millions of Americans to go out of their way to vote for them, you can certainly take a page from their campaign books and win over your next boss.

Here are the best notes from Tuesday's tight race:

1. Show interest in a company's long term vision

It's great to come to an interview primed with ideas for a company's current issues, deals, clients, etc. But if you want to get hired full time (and not as a freelancer!) you've got to showcase both knowledge of and passion for the company and industry long term. Make it clear that you hope to grow with the company, and that you've got a vision for not just months but the years ahead.

2. Be a familiar face

Incumbents are more likely to get elected—that's because people prefer to bet on "the devil they know," even if a candidate's less than perfect. If you apply for a job within your company, you've automatically got an edge on the "unknown" candidates. Same goes for getting a referral from a friend. It's human nature to lean toward the tried and tested.

3. Get along well with all kinds of people

Do you mix well with white collar executives? Great! But don't expect to get hired if you can't make small talk with the receptionists and interns too. Ditto goes for people of different cultural or ethnic backgrounds from  your own. If you can't show tolerance and ease with others, you might want to look into working alone.

4. Offer ideas, but not necessarily promises

Show confidence and present yourself as a solution to a company's woes--but be careful about making too many general promises.  You don't want to lose credibility. Instead, pull facts and figures from your record and use that as a basis for showing what you have to offer. You don't have to be everything to win the job, you just have to bring a few key, proven talents.

5. Acknowledge weaknesses   

This goes along with the credibility issue. If you answer the "weakness" interview question with, "I'm too much of a perfectionist!" you're either going to look like a phony or clueless about your own abilities. Everybody has a weak area. Everybody makes mistakes. But the best candidates know that being aware of their blind spots and willing to address them is truly a winning strategy—both in the hot seat and on the job.

--Cathy Vandewater,


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